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Jane of all trades, Master of none. Still on the search for the occupation that I can love.....

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sewing Clothing

I'm not the greatest at making clothing. I can usually get thru an item for myself because my body is right there to make any needed adjustments.

The one person that does a really good job at sewing clothes is my mother. Funny thing is that most of the time she does not like to do it.

These are some dresses that she made to sell. They are really cute. I told her that I would list them on my Etsy for her.

I have no idea what the price should be. I guess I have to do some research first....

I need to practice more. Then maybe I would have a better chance to get out of this jobless rut.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cowl Neck Infinity Scarf

I Love Cowls. I learned today that they are also called snoods in the UK. I believe that they are also referred to as infinity scarves. I like them on shirts or just the cowl by it's self. I really want a chunky orange one for this winter but I cant knit. I have tried to learn but so far no luck.

I made this ivory one but luckily I found knit fabric for a reasonable price. I am going to list it on etsy.com yo see if anyone else likes it.

it can be worn in different ways and I have shown a few different ways.

I love that it is a loop that wont fall off.

If only I could find some orange knit fabric....

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Epic Fail.....

I have not been posting lately.
A few people have brought it to my attention by asking "Whatca working on?" My answer is always the same. "Nothing"
Truth be told that's a Big Fat Lie!
Since before I was laid off , almost a year ago I have been working on a project that means more to me than any of ones in the past.
Kit and I have been trying to add to our little family. I know that it doesn't seem like that would take up much time, considering we pretty much have the act down and we are good at it. Actually we are pretty good a making babies also....Just not so good at keeping them alive past the 1st trimester. Since the first miscarriage last year we have loss 3 pregnancies.
That last statement usually starts with "I" and I have to keep reminding myself that the loss was not mine alone. Kit has been really supportive. Especially considering that I haven't been working and hospitals and insurance companies bill you about the same cost, baby or not.
I have to keep reminding myself to stop blaming me, because its really easy to beat yourself up, thinking that I could have done something about it. I know that medically it was out of my hands. Its hard to stop the Why me?, and the It's not fair!, and the crazy jealousy of others. My internal dialog has been terrible towards myself because hate to fail. And this feels like an Epic failure. I have this incredible need to go all in and hands on and fix things and I cant fix this.
That's the part that has taken up so much of my energy, desire to work on anything creative, or even get out as much as I should.

After the 3rd loss we were referred to an Infertility specialist who assured us that 3 losses to them were no big deal. I think they should try being on the other side of the desk. The amount of testing that you have to do is insane. We both came out with a clean bill of health, but I have been given the label "Advanced Maternal Age". After 2 rounds of Injection cycles and now the discovery of Uterine fibroids that may need to be removed. When I stop and consider the losses, cost and the potential damage to my health and relationship, I think I have come to terms with the idea that this may not happen.

I am coming back around to being me. I have managed to dump 10 of the 18 pounds that I picked up this year being depressed (self medicated with food). If I could find work, that would be great but with this economy I'm not holding my breath.
At first I was glad that I was not working. I felt like I needed to be alone but now I know, I need to get out. I have gotten out more to workout dates with friends and picked up on the frequency of my yoga practice. It really does help put things in prospective.
Kit and I have talked about me going back to school. I have to give it more thought because I never really thought of a serious career. I've always considered work as just work. It was just something you did to provide the necessities so you could enjoy your life and family. I'll have to focus on it more now since I may not get hired the one career field that I really wanted.....

I want to a great big thank you to the people that have let me bend their ears back with all my chatter. This is my equivalent for crying on shoulders since I'm not one for crying in front of others, I am eternally great full for you checking in on me every week. And thank you the one who have helped me dodge questions that I could not answer at the time (You know who you are). If by chance I have pushed away from you in the past year please know that it had nothing to do with you, it was not personal.

One thing that I have learned is not to take things and people for granted. The other is that when someone is dealing with a medical condition like infertility I will never tell them to relax and not stress, because then and it will happen. Maybe its me but that just grates on my nerves. You would never tell some one to relax away any other diagnosis. (except maybe stress)
I will get back to projects & posting soon. I still have a chair that needs to be recovered. I have the fabric. The chair and fabric have been sitting in the corner looking at me looking at it......I'm gonna tackle it......

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Yoga gets slippery

I've found myself in yoga class more lately. With things a little hairy around here I've needed some help staying centered. Anne a friend has recently completed her Yoga certification. She wanted to practice her teaching and was kind enough to as me to be one of the familiar faces in front of her.

It doesn't matter how cold or hot the room is when I am practicing the results are always the same. I sweat as if I am in Death Valley. I wish that I could blame it on the extra 15lbs that I have been caring around the past year but I have always been this way. Ever tried to stay in downward dog with sweaty palms and feet. I feel like I'm about to face plant.(not the four-limed staff style) I've tried to practice on a regular towel but it nor I stay in place. I decided to make-myself one out of micro fiber towel fabric. I added grip to the back so that it could hold on to my mat while I hold on to it. I also made this one for Anne as a thanks for getting me out of the house. I know I could have grabbed a plain one but why would I want to cover my mat with that.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Its HOT in here!

I know that vaulted ceilings are designed to let light in to the foyer but they also let in heat.
I've always felt like it is wasted space. I think that it would have been a better use of space to make the master bedroom larger. The level of heat that comes off the window is ridiculous. So I decided that it needed to be covered with black out shades. There were two problems with my solution.
The first is that it is very expensive to cover a 60 inch window and the other is that it has to be hung up and there is no easy access.

The solution that I found was to buy mini blinds and turned them into roman shades. I found some blinds on the clearance table at Lowe's for $15. They were two inches short. But I felt that I could compensate with fabric to close the space in the window.
Jo Ann's Fabric had black-out on sale for 40% off so I purchased a couple of yards. I had some Tan colored fabric at home that would be a good choice. Then I removed all the slats from the blinds, all but 10. I doubled them up for strength. and hand sewed around the slats spaced about 10 inches apart. This way I would have 5 folds. I think it came out pretty well and it does reduce the amount of heat that comes in.

Kit pulled the ladder from under the house and I held it as he cursed the heat and the drill as it was installed. The only downside is that I do have to get on a step ladder to adjust it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wanted: More Storage

Bags, Bags & more Bags.
They were all over our foyer. There's my purse, gym bag, work bag( when working) and then there's Kit's contribution. My solution was to get a credenza to fit it all. However that was not in my budget. This dresser from Ytina was, because it was free. (Thanks again Ytina)
In the photo below it's on its side because I started working on tearing it to pieces before I remembered to take a before photo and I didn't want to set it down again. I tossed out the 6 drawers that were in it. I also removed the curvy bottom.

I spent $20 on two packages of bead board to cover the sides and $10 on 1x4's for the top. I didn't want the cadenza to sit on the floor but I couldn't find any feet/legs in my budget. My solution was to buy 4 wood post at $14. (3.5 each) I had to remove the galvanized fastners from the post centers before I added them to the new base.

Once I removed the rails form the inside I added one newly craft papered shelf to each side. The shelf is made from scrap particle board that I had in the garage. I made the doors from the the left over bead board & trim. ($12)
The next thing I did was to practice anger management. I beat it up with hammer, screw driver and a a chain to give it some personality. I used sage green spray paint for the base.($8) The next day I went over every thing with a watered down brown paint that I had at home. I ragged off the excess before it dried. Then went over the entire thing with a matte glaze($3) so that it would look old but loved.

I thought it was best to use hardware that was not modern. These black ones are hammered and I think that it is a good match. ($8 Pulls, hinges,and catch magnets)

I'm happy that the bags are out of site. But I did get in the car this morning with out my purse.....out of site, out of mind.
Piece of mind $75( if I can add, and not the $300+ that I couldn't spend.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Things have been kind of crazy in the past month. Kit is training for Lake Placid so Porter and I are on our own. We did have to take time out to visit the parents in Minnesota. (My first time) Kit's grand Elenore was holding on on to him walking down the street.
I love this photo because he has to lean over for her to take his arm.

Before we left to go on the trip I was bitten by a tick. (another first) When we got back my blood work came back positive for Lyme. What are the odds on that.
The cakes below are what I was up to this weekend.
Its funny because no one was sure last week if they needed cake or not. Of course they all became certain the same week that my Grand goes in the hospital due to a mini stroke. She is back at home now. Thank god. And the three trips out of town this week to visit her did not slow down my baking......

Strawberry Shortcake

Dads gone fishing

High school is so over

I have refinished a credenza and made roman shades. I plan to post but I have to add hinges to the credenza and the shades have to be hung but since they are going in the foyer over the door. I will have to wait and tackle kit in between his training because it is a two person job. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Inspiration in odd places

I was looking in a monthly publication one day and I saw this flower in an advertisement.
I don't remember what they were selling but I liked that it was a simple illustration. I felt like it could say a lot of different things depending on how you looked at it. I cut it out because to me it said quilt. I dropped the words and the loose petals because that didn't say baby.

I wanted to keep it simple so I put it in front of a brick wall. (Click on photo for better detail) I made this one for Sophia's little Bella. Her original colors were Aqua and lavender but the nursery theme she planned was discontinued at the Big box baby store so...... She switched to pink and brown.

That is the reason for the color change on the back. I nixed the aqua and left in the lavender because I had already purchased the fabrics. ( I can use them on some other project,there's always something else to work on) This is the first time that I have tried to embroider a name by hand. Hope she likes it.

I wonder how often people look at a thing and see something completely different.

Sorry for the sucky photos but I had to use my cell camera because the PC has yet to be replaced and the software is not working......

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Signs of Summer

I received a text from a friend that works in a big box store (like Linens and things use to be) She said she had a customer in the store that was looking for replacement cushions for her patio but was having no luck because of the unique size. A few weeks earlier helped her by adding some black out to her curtains. (her hours had changed and the daylight savings time was intruding on sleep) I told her to have Sandy(customer) give me a buzz. Sandy dropped by the next day to show me these.....

They look like they have seen better days. Going on advice from the Fabric store employee Sandy went with duck cloth because she couldn't find what she wanted in the regular outdoor fabric. I like the new color. I used Velcro in place of zippers to close the covers. Velcro is less expensive and it is easier to install & replace. There were a set of 3 but only one ottoman.

I used duck cloth on a slip covered chair in by bedroom. It works great but I would suggest that if you hate ironing then I would send the covers to the cleaners because it is the worst for pressing out wrinkles. If you use duck cloth for a project I would also use scotch guard to save yourself some cleaning headache.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

White Lake and Stuff

First: White lake can look so lovely.... but you never know what you are going to get when you get there. One year when Kit went to race thre it was hot and muggy, about 95 out. And another year it was so cold and windy the water has white caps.

Today it was so foggy that you could not see past the docks. So the swim got nixed.

Overall it was a good day for # 2.

As for me I feel like I'm running behind. I had a bit of cake this week. Here is one. Click on the cake album for the rest.

Stuff: I have been working to replace a quilt that sold.( almost done) I would post a pic but its another Owl.
I managed another baby quilt for a friend that had her little one a few weeks early. (here's a peek, cant show the entire thing because I haven't given it to her yet)

I have also been giving a face lift to a dresser to re-purpose it into a credenza for my foyer. ( Will Post as soon as I am done.) We are being over run by bags/back packs & my large carry all.

And a complete stranger just asked me to slip cover her cushions to her patio set because they are odd shaped and she cannot find replacements.
Sure lady I have time.........

Sunday, April 24, 2011


We have had some interesting weather lately from the ridiculous heat to last week’s deadly spring tornadoes. Luckily we came out without any personal damage. The only thing that went haywire is the PC. The power kept knocking it on and off and now it’s on its last leg. I have had a few pics that I wanted to post but we seem to have lost the photo software and It won’t let us install it so I can’t do anything with the pics I took. So I decided to provide some helpful information.
People love cake and I’m one of them. Here are a few tips on ordering cake no matter where you order it from. If you want to know how many people the cake will feed there are cakes serving size charts that will give you a standard serving size based on the pan size.

Cake Sizes and Serving Charts
A serving size is a 1" x 2" x 4" slice. The serving chart and sizes below are industry standard. I use the Wilton Serving Guide to determine the amount of servings per cake size. If you want bigger slices, you need to account for that and choose a larger size cake to accommodate the serving size you want.
6" square = 18 servings (cut 3x6)
8" square = 32 servings (cut 4x8)
10" square = 50 servings (cut 5 x 10)
12" square = 72 servings (cut 6 x 12)
14" square = 98 servings (cut 7 x 14)

6" round = 12 servings
8" round = 24 servings
10" round = 35 servings
12" round = 56 servings
14" round = 78 servings

Single Layer, no filling (serving size is 2x2x2)
9x13 = 24 servings (cut 4x6)
11x15 = 35 servings (cut 5x7)
12x18 = 54 servings (cut 6x9)

9x13 = 52 servings (cut 4x13)
11x15 = 75 servings (cut 5x15)
12x18 = 108 servings (cut 9x12)
There are a few more that are similar such as Heavenly Divine Cake Chart and Wilton's Cake Chart also Dream Cakes by Pam that are good places for size and cost reference so that you wont feel like you are getting ripped off.
There are a few things that can cause the cost to rise. One is if the cake is covered in fondant. In most cases a baker will use butter cream under the fondant and you get charged for the use of 2 icings. Another up charge is for handmade d├ęcor such as figures, flowers and freehand art work. Those items can be time consuming and the materials like fondant, gumpaste and pulled sugar can be costly. Hope this ends up being a helpful reference.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


This week has been a little busy. And I am so glad. My quilt sold! Yea! Ok,I know that it is only one item but you have no idea how worried I was. It took 11 days and then it was gone. I hope the person that purchased it liked it. I haven't had any feedback yet. Hopefully I will soon and that it's good. I asked a friend if they liked it before I put it online and the response was less than gratifying. I guess we all have different taste.
I gave myself a deadline this week to put out a girl version be for my birthday tomorrow and I've done it.
See below.

The only problem is that now everything I have on Etsy is pink. As soon as I finish a gift for a friend whose baby decided to arrive a few weeks early I will try and balance the gender colors in my Etsy shop. Wish me luck! Oh and if you know someone that needs a gift send them to SarenaVictoria.Etsy.com I'm thinking about adding special orders.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I made this boys quilt from a pattern that was featured in BH&G Quilts and more publication. I placed it on Etsy.com last week for sale. A few people have viewed it but no hits yet.
I'm not the best at taking photos. I need to think of ways to put myself out there more. Let me know what you think and if you have any ideas.....

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lisa's birthday Cake

A friend Lisa turned 50 last week! She hosted a fund raiser for Performance Edge Inc. Core programming for Performance Edge is designed for students, grades six through college freshmen. Participation is open to any musically talented students in Wake County and surrounding counties. Their goal is to have a balanced blend of boys and girls, ethnic diversity, and a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds.

This was my first time using a stencil on a cake. I think that it came out very well. The cake had to be very cold in order to lay it on and smooth the icing over the top.
I think that I may get it better at it with more practice. The gum paste roses came out well also. I used white chocolate for the base of the roses. I believe that it made them more sturdy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I am not the boss of me....

You know what they say about making plans and making god laugh........
Well I made plans to run 13.1 Tobacco Road this weekend. Then I got knocked off my butt by my Asthma.
I was doing really good until I was forced to walk The Porter twice a day for 3 days. His regular walks just so happen to be at the same time of day when pollen counts are the highest. (I didn't think about that until after the fact) I'm not clear on the why and how but, his regular walking buddy managed to drop my treadmill on his big toe so he was not available.
I cant remember going down hill so fast with an allergy onset asthma attack. Now I am stuck at home with out of control asthma, an upper respiratory infection and a right ear infection. I now know why babies scream and pull at their ears. This hurts, itches and there is this nonstop high pitch ringing. Not to mention it has me off balance.
The Doc said that its probably best to try to get it under control during the tree pollen season and that if I wanted to do the race I would most likely need to come across a miracle....
I think Kit got that one. His toe is fine he melted into his big toenail with a hot needle and let it drain for a couple of days and he is up and running. Literally! Although the toe is really ugly.
Im not the boss right now but I plan on taking control back from this disease.

Friday, March 4, 2011

PSA : Asthma

This may seem a little odd but I feel like I should explain a few things because I may have offended a few people. I have Asthma it is not new to me I have always had it. I may have assumed that family and friends were aware of it. My bad. People come and go out of our lives and I didn't take that into consideration. My 3 big triggers are my allergic reactions to pet dander, tobacco smoke,and roaches(what they leave behind that you don't see)

I know that its weird that I have a dog and pet dander is at the top of the list but I take a drug every day (365) that allows me to be around him. Not to mention that he has to have a bath every week and he is not allowed in sleeping areas or on furniture. Also most of the carpet at home has been removed. If not for all that Porter will cause a flair up. My bodies reactions to cats is swift and crazy so I usually stay away from homes where they live.

It's not easy working at limiting exposure to my triggers. So far so good I haven't been in the hospital for Asthma in years.....

I'm saying all of this because I don't want you to think that its you when I say that I would love to come to your dinner party or come and visit but I can't this time. And I never come...... It's not that I think that your dirty or that I think you have bugs..... Or that I don't like you because do. Frankly I think you are fantastic!

It's mainly because I like to breathe. I've been doing it now for 35 years and I would like to continue to do it. I know that it is common for people to confuse allergies and asthma but please keep in mind that Asthma is the one that kills over 200,000 people on average yearly.
It is really sweet of the people that say I just cleaned everything from top to bottom. I appreciate the effort but that doesn't help. Its been tried and mainly stirs things up in the air.

So If I have put you off by staying away then this is one of those times that when I say Sorry, it's not you it's me! Seriously, Its me.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Gift that keeps on giving…

When "The Parents" drove down last fall they brought with them a gift from Kit’s Grand Eleanor. It was a Viking Husqvarna Sewing machine. Eleanor said that she was having tension problems with the bobbin and that I should fix it and keep it. It’s the one on the right.

The one I had already is a Singer on the left. I have to say that on the heaver things it preforms better than what I have now started to call my Wal-Mart special. (Singer) It doesn’t jump around and it also doesn’t break 3 needles per project. It is also a lot more quiet. They really dont make things like they use too. The quilt in between the machines is my first completed project on it.
The goal is to sell it on Etsy.com. I don’t think that the quilt would have gone as smoothly as it did had it not been for my new machine.(new to me)
Thanks Eleanor.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Apron Ooops....

So I made a mistake. I made an apron for my younger sisters daughter. Then my oldest sisters daughter found out and she wanted one. In my defense I didn't know that she baked. When we spoke last I asked about if she helped with Christmas dinner and she said no.
So I made to make another. I have changed the top of this apron but the bottom is the same. I also added the initials to the pocket. All of the fabric has sparkle in it except for the green but I like the combo. I hope that she likes it.
If not maybe the Red Velvet cupcake mix will help smooth over my faux pas.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Bum Cushions

I spotted these cushions in last years summer issue of Traditional Home Magazine. I thought it was a good idea and filed the image away in the back of my mind. They look custom and fit the square stools very well. They stood out to me because you always see individual cushions for chairs but not so much for different shape bar/counter stools.

Ytina mention that she liked the saddle seat stools that she has in her eat in kitchen but they hurt when you sat in them too long. I remembered the photo above and went hunting in my magazine pile to send her the photo. She liked the idea and let me know that she wanted black and white fabric. One day while in Fabric store I saw this print in another woman's arms and sent her a pick of it. The fabric was $8.00 per yard and the pad and filling should run you about $20 for four seats.(but you have to use your 40% off coupon)

Here is the completed seat. I added solid black trim to the edge. I find edges of things seem to get dirty first and I thought that black would hide that better. They don't look so great on my red stools. Ytinas are black so it will go much better. If you don't like the look of the tied stays on the seats you can always add rug sip material under the cushion. Also a cut up yoga mat will serve as a great substitute. learned that from Patty at Triangle Pilates ( no one wants to fall off the reformer or a stool.)

Here's to happy bottoms!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Race season is on.....

Here we are again at the beginning of another race season. Kit started his this morning at the Krispy Kreme Challange along with Becky, Tim and Greg and a few other friends we met up with downtown. The temperature was 36 the entire time. I was freezing and don't get me started with the constant rain.
With all my complaining you would think that I was running. I think its worse as a spectator. Its hard to keep warm just standing there waiting to take photos.

I only saw 3 guys tossing there doughnuts back up. I get sick just thinking about it. Becky said that she was not eating them at all. Kit ate all of his but he says he still hates them and wont ever touch them again. He is now on his bike riding off the gut he swears he can feel coming on from the 2000 calories he just consumed.

I will do my first race for this year next month Tobacco Road 13.1. I'm not expecting it to be great because I haven't been well lately. But I will do it just the same. I really hope it doesn't rain.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The almost there Kitchen

When we moved into this house there were a few appliances missing. We bought a fridge and a microwave. The microwave on the counter was taking up to much real estate. We decided that we would get stainless with plans in the future to switch out the white ones. That has not happened yet.
I did manage to give the cabinets a face lift. There was really nothing wrong with them other than the normal wear and tear of 10 years also I just didn't like the color. So I sanded them down and used a gel stain to get them to the new color. The thing with builder grade cabinets is that they cover the cabinet ends and most of the island with particle board and you cant stain that. The solution was to replace it with wood wainscoting and stain it to match the cabinets.

Two days before Christmas we said goodbye to the blue Formica counter tops. The Granite was installed by Absolute Stone at a really great price. If you click on the top pic you can see that the Formica has chunks missing from it on the sides. It wont be missed!

A friend suggested Best Tile when I mentioned that I was looking for subway tile. The travertine I found was 3.99 sf. Other places I priced it was a lot more $$. I installed the backslash after the holidays it took about 3 days working 5 hours a day. They make it seem so easy on TV but I guess they skip the prep time and the clean up. I also installed lights under the cabinets. (They are hard to see in the picture because the overhead light is so bright) I'm please with the look so far. All there is left to do is the floor and get rid of the white.
Trim may be needed the bottom of the top cabinets so that the light fixtures are not so visible.

The island stools may be blending in a little to well so I may have to change them to black. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


This is Friday's great great grandmothers chair. The chair is over 100 years old and has some great detail work on the back. Why is it sitting in my garage you ask? At some point in its history a very naughty dog got to it and I'm going to give it a little TLC for her.

One of the arms had a whole ripped in the fabric. The arm below was ripped off and it looks like it became a chew toy.

Here you can see some of the details of the chair and the old fabric that got pulled away. I had to rebuild and cover the arm that was chewed with an oak veneer. I hated to do it but it was missing to much structure and that was the only way to get it re attached to the back of the chair.

If you click on the first picture to enlarge it you can see that a fair amount of wood looks worn and discolored. I went over the chair and footstool with Danish oil. The oil had a walnut tint to it and that helped to bring the chair it a more even color. It will also protect help protect the wood as it is drying out in some spots.

Friday's year has not started off so great (understatement)and I am glad that I have finished it in time for it to give her a little smile....

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I feel like I have been sprinting the past couple of weeks and now I'm wondering where the time has gone. Don't get me wrong I'm glad for the new year, for my sake and a few people that had a worse set of circumstances than my own.
I have managed to complete a chair for a friend recently. We also had the new counter tops installed 2 days before Christmas. I also got around to re-staining the kitchen cabinets and finished installing the new back splash yesterday. I also managed to squeeze out a couple of cakes in my misplaced kitchen. I'll post photos on all that soon.

The thing that I completed that I wished I had more time for was Felicia's baby Cayden's play blanket. It was hard to make time for it with all of my running around. My seams were not the best and a little crooked. On the way to the shower I realized that I paced the fabric tag on the corner but I didn't add the handmade stamp. (Felicia, just in case you are wondering what the little blue tag in the corner is.)
I had more time last year when I made this one for Jamie and her ladybugs. I had no crazy going on then. I miss that....

However I do like the clean lines of Cadyden's. I have to confess I'm not crazy over the traditional quilt patterns. Remember the one I made for myself was just 2 shades of blue in micro suede. It has come in handy with this real winter that North Carolina has decide that we needed.

I guess I can make it up to Felicia. All she has to do is have another baby and I can redeem myself.